Throughout this field season I’ve found myself questioning a lot of things, amongst them I’ve questioned why non-native species are where they are, how they’ve migrated, who brought them and the stories + logic that came with bringing some of them to where they are. I believe most species have explanations requiring nothing more than some time and online research to find answers. Other questions, however, will remain unanswered.
Recently, we were at a Pinyon-Juniper site and everything seemed so ordinary. There weren’t many plants out of their usual ecosystem, or prominent wildlife but there was something a little strange. As we evaluated the plot, we started to notice random burn scars on tree logs. These pieces were somewhat blended into the environment so the burn marks weren’t noticeable until I stood right in front of one. I found this all strange because clearly there wasn’t a prescribed burn, the damage wasn’t vast enough to say that there was a fire in the area. In addition, there was one burned log that upon further analysis appeared to still be rooted. This burned rooted Pinyon crossed out the possibility of down wood from a fire, since we were on a slope. So why in hell would this burned tree be here, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. I sat there and pondered on the possibilities, the explanation I settle on was that lightning hit the one tree, setting it ablaze. If trees would talk, I’m sure the stories they’d tell would be fascinating, limited but fascinating. I picture them talking really slowww and with a deep monotonous voice, droopy bark mouth and bushy bark eyebrows all related to Sesame Street’s Snuffaluffagus. I remain in question but shift my outlook to he thought that maybe it’s better this way, helps my imagination fly as free as the birds overhead.
I’m generally a rather inquisitive person but questioning everything seems to be my theme this field season, I feel as though I’m 5 again asking why the sky is blue. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but these unanswerable questions sometimes make me feel the same way as I do when I try and key out the species of a plant and I’m not happy with my final answer. However, I look forward to more unanswerable questions that I can try and piece together answers to.